Fallen newspaper magnate Conrad Black says he can’t be stripped of his Order of Canada because he renounced it as of December of last year.
In column in the National Post, Montreal-born Black reprints a letter he wrote Dec. 18 to Gov. Gen. David Johnston asking him to consider reversing the recommendations of staff who denied him a hearing over his Order of Canada status.
'I learned long ago that honours do not make a man, any more than the withdrawal of honours unmakes one' - Conrad Black in the National Post
The 11-member advisory council for the Order made the removal recommendation to Johnston late Friday, citing Black’s conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice in the United States.
Black was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1990.
“Perhaps it is inevitable that given a little power and no accountability, some officials will be unable to resist the excitement of using it arbitrarily and spitefully,” Black said in the letter to Johnston.
“There is nothing before those officials that could give legitimate cause for denying my status had they seriously examined the matter,” he said, claiming that “flaws in the U.S. justice system” were responsible for his conviction on two counts being upheld.
“If you decline to have any suspensive aspect to the issue, please accept this letter as my resignation as an Officer of the Order of Canada effective on your receipt of this letter,” Black tells Johnston, in effect renouncing the honour if the Governor General does nothing.
In his column, Black refers to Johnston’s advisers as “prancing figurines in the governor general’s entourage” claiming they do “not wish to be confused by the facts.”
He then claims that he would never have been found guilty in a Canadian court of “such spurious charges as I faced in the United States.”
Black was convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in a U.S. court in 2007 after a shareholder-initiated prosecution involving Hollinger International, his newspaper holding company.
Black served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison, but two of the fraud convictions were overturned in 2010 by a U.S. Appeals Court. He fought a legal battle to overturn the remaining convictions but the Supreme Court would not grant him leave to appeal.
He has been in Canada since May 2012 under a special temporary permit given that he is no longer a citizen, having renounced his citizenship in 2001 so he could accept a peerage in the British House of Lords.
Black declared in his column that he doesn’t care about being stripped of his Order of Canada.
“I learned long ago that honours do not make a man, any more than the withdrawal of honours unmakes one,” he wrote.